Health Care Reform Taps into the Power of One
By Kathleen Ryan
DENVER – Advocates for health-care reform are trying to tap in to the power of the story.
A local group and the federal government are asking people to publicly share their stories about their experiences with the health-care system. The idea? Personal stories help to transform health-care reform from statistics to something to which people can relate.
Judy Lamb is one of those who shared her health-care story. After fighting cancer for 18 years, she worried that without the Affordable Care Act her insurer would stop paying for her treatments because of a “lifetime limit.”
“I don’t think the system is fair,” she said. “So that’s why. I didn’t get any flak from it. I thought I would get more, but I didn’t.”
In Colorado, people have two chances to share their health-care stories. Today is “Health Care Day of Action” at the Capitol, where people are encouraged to give testimony about their needs for affordable care. The other is online, through the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative’s Power of One story bank.
Post-graduate fellow Ashley Mayo is helping the Initiative gather the stories.
“Stories are really important,” she said, “because I think they show how these issues that we hear about all the time affect real people. I think that that’s very powerful because it helps people understand that those aren’t just numbers. Those are real Coloradans.”
Lamb initially was worried about telling her health-care story.
“I was thinking I was probably crazy,” she said, “but I didn’t care. It’s too important to worry about stuff like that.”
She’ll be at today’s Health Care Day of Action.
The Colorado Legislature is considering several health-care bills this year, including one that would expand Medicaid to more needy Coloradans as required by the Affordable Care Act.